Over a recent four-year period, drug makers contributed more than $72 million to hundreds of United Kingdom patient advocacy groups that lobby and facilitate research into new treatments, and the payments often reflected the commercial priorities of companies making the donations, a new study finds.

Yet transparency about the payments is often lacking, the authors found, underscoring concerns that the pharmaceutical industry may be co-opting patient groups, which frequently work with U.K. agencies to ensure medicines are paid for by the government. As an example, the authors pointed to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which runs cost effectiveness appraisals.

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